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Back to School: Inverness Creative Academy prepares to graduate with flying colours!

31 March 2021
Scotland

The AHF is delighted to be able to support projects in different ways throughout their development. One example of this is our investment in a project led by WASPS in Inverness, which is transforming the historically significant Midmills buildings in the centre of the city to provide affordable studios for artists, makers and creative enterprises, creating a much needed creative facility for the region, which will also allow public access to these important buildings. 

“Support from the Architectural Heritage Fund has helped Wasps throughout the development, from assistance with early stage building design costs, to ongoing fundraising support. This has helped us bridge the funding gap, facilitating the continuation of works during a challenging year. It also allows the project to raise its profile, presenting the valuable contribution it will offer the Highlands and Islands region from later in 2021.” 

Claire English, Funding and Partnerships Manager, WASPS 

An early grant in 2017 towards project development costs contributed to a successful Phase 1 opening in November 2018, with WASPS achieving full occupancy of its affordable artist studios within 6 months. In the year prior to the onset of the pandemic, over 4,500 people had visited Inverness Creative Academy for exhibitions, workshops and events. On the back of these achievements, the AHF was able to offer further grant support for fundraising capacity to support the second phase of development which will provide a further 80 workspaces, meeting rooms, reception, café and stunning gallery space. 

“It is always a privilege to be able to see a project through from early stages to completion. We were especially impressed to learn that WASPS waived tenant artist rentals for two months during the first lockdown, thereby helping stabilise not only their longer term rental income but also retain the community of artists and makers. This placed additional demands on fundraising, as did meeting further costs due to covid-induced delays. However, we’re pleased to hear that the project has remained on track with completion expected in late summer 2021. We look forward to visiting when we can!” 

Gordon Barr, Scotland Development Manager, AHF 

The year 2020-21 has seen no slow-down in demand for AHF grants to support the development of community-led heritage-focussed regeneration projects in Scotland. Thanks to continued investment from Historic Environment Scotland and the William Grant Foundation to our grant funding programmes, the AHF has been able to offer well over £500k to more than 60 different projects across Scotland in the last year alone. A full list of grants offered can be found on our website